Movie trilogies are usually comprised of one or two good films with a weak link dragging the franchise down into mediocrity. Of course this could all come down to nothing more than opinion but in a general consensus format there are the forgettable trinities and there are the legendary ones. For example, in my most humblest of opinion, The Nolan Batman Trilogy is legendary. Starting in a ‘New Hope’ fashion it then turns to the greatest of the three, the ‘Empire Strikes Back’ so to speak, The Dark Knight. While the third may be the weakest of the entries, it is nonetheless still a great film (I don’t care what you say, The Dark Knight Rises is damn good.) Just to clarify, I’m not saying The Dark Knight films are comparable in quality to Star Wars, I’m not suicidal.
Back to the Future, the original Star Wars films, The Lord of the Rings, these are trilogies that managed the impossible and unveiled not only tremendous storytelling from beginning to end but created a following of loyal fans that only seem to grow in size as time goes on. It is my belief that on July 14th of this year, the modern Planet of the Apes trilogy will be inducted into this league of extraordinary film trilogies.
With each film in this particular franchise they progressively get better and outdo everything about its predecessor. Rupert Wyatt helped seed this new imagining with Rise but it was Matt Reeves stepping in for Dawn that truly helped elevate these films into something far greater. These films were thought to be throwaway sci-fi actioners but instead we were given modern day science fiction masterpieces. With the first two films, the word masterpiece can be argued but in the final entry (presumably) the word masterpiece encapsulates everything about it with great accuracy. War for the Planet of the Apes is a masterpiece I assure you.
From cinematography to motion capture performances to impeccable direction, this is what modern films should strive to be. With War, as with the previous two, it found a perfect balance between blockbuster action and heart wrenching drama. The cinematography is astounding as it captures the lushness of an untouched jungle that has long forgotten the old world of human dominance. The visual effects are Oscar worthy as digital apes blend flawlessly with their human counterparts in a grimy battle for lasting existence in a world with room enough for only one supreme species.
However none of this would matter if the performances on both sides were anything short of masterful, which they are. Woody Harrelson faces his simian foes with complete bravery but not without a heaping of insanity to back his extreme world views. His performance is reminiscent of Brando’s Colonel Kurtz as the world in his eyes is ugly and in need of his helping hand. But in a true turn of brilliance, Harrelson doesn’t try to emulate Brando but rather he creates a character who seems to emulate the fictional Colonel. A psychotic mimicry with dangerous implications. And then there’s Andy Serkis…
I’m going to say it but in the end, unjustly so, it will be ignored as usual, he deserves at the very least, an Oscar nomination. With a combination of mind-blowing CGI and his career making performance as the tormented simian leader, Caesar, he is nothing short of hauntingly powerful. He is war torn and tired and Serkis conveys this with absolute conviction and fervor. Andy Serkis is nothing short of brilliant as Caesar and his leadership among the apes feels authentic and earned even as he loses his way in a blind rage of vengeance. As the war continues Serkis takes his character from strong leader to lost soldier and once again tries to reach his rightful place as leader of apes but his journey in the opposite direction has left him ragged and hopeless.
With each individual performance and new scenery comes an opportunity that is seized every time with convincing, fulfilling results making this one of the best films of 2017. I urge everyone to see this film and get a taste of what summer blockbusters have the potential to be. The explosions and bullets can still fly but with a story to back up the mayhem only adds to a great mix making it legendary. Mediocrity is not permanent and War for the Planet of the Apes proves this in every way possible. They rose up, the conflict dawned, and war was unleashed.
Rated PG-13 For: sequences of sci-fi violence and action, thematic elements, and some disturbing images
Runtime: 140 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Sci-fi, Action, Adventure, Drama
Starring: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Judy Greer, Steve Zahn
Directed By: Matt Reeves
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 5/ Acting: 5/ Directing: 5/ Visuals: 5
OVERALL: 5 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: Yes
Check out the trailer below:
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